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The ‘Cuda Trim Level Could Be Reborn, But In What Form?

1970 Plymouth Barracuda AAR Dream Giveaway

The Plymouth Barracuda is one of the most iconic and sought after Mopar muscle cars ever made. And within the Barracuda lineup, there was the even more sought after ‘Cuda trim level. How special is it? For one example, only thirteen examples of the 1971 Hemi ‘Cuda convertible were ever built, and a blue on blue 4-speed example sold for an $3.5 million USD during a Mecum auction in Seattle. And for the third time in 10 years, FCA has motioned to file for the Cuda Trademark for “land vehicles, namely, passenger automobiles” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The most recent filing for the Cuda trademark from FCA happened on October 12, 2020. This follows a following from June 16, 2017, while the first time in recent history happened December 15, 2010, following a Dodge “Barracuda” SEMA concept from 2007. This suggests that FCA is determined to use the “Cuda” name on an automobile in some form in the future.

2021 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock USA America Muscle Car
Image Via Dodge.

Keep in mind, the Cuda trademark filing is different than a “Barracuda” trademark filing, which was the nameplate of the legendary Plymouth muscle car, while ‘Cuda was a trim level. To that end, the Barracuda was trademarked by FCA in January 9, 2012, and then in June 23, 2015. It’s since been abandoned by FCA. But with the “Cuda” name getting a new lease on life, maybe the same will soon be said for “Barracuda” as well.

What could the Cuda be? We can only take an educated guess at this time. So here goes. Since it’s a trim level, it’s likely going to be some variant of the Dodge Challenger. Historically, the ‘Cuda had a Hemi V8 engine, but it also came standard with the Slant 6. Recently, FCA patented a unique turbocharged straight six engine, codenamed GME-T6. Additionally, FCA placed a historically massive order with supplier ZF for automatic transmissions that will couple itself to hybridized engines. Could a Challenger Cuda usher in the first hybrid muscle car from Dodge? It would certainly be one hell of a strategy if so.

2020 Dodge Challenger 392 Widebody
Photo copyright Steven Pham,

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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  1. I had a 440 Six-pack ‘Cuda when I was in college in the late 70s. Bought it cheap when gas prices spiked, drove it for a few years, and sold it to pay off my college.

    If I had kept it, I’d be retired by now. :(

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